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Officials Urge To Take Precaution As West Nile Spreads

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Mosquitoes are annoying enough, but not all mosquitoes are created equally, as some carry the West Nile virus.

With three confirmed cases in Sacramento and a holiday weekend, there’s a warning for those spending time outside.

It’s being called the biggest West Nile outbreak since the disease was first introduced back in 1989.

“We are almost at the end of summer, but that doesn’t mean the West Nile virus is over. I say we still have a few more weeks,” said Luz Rodriquez, Vector Control.

So far, there have been 26 confirmed human cases in California, including three in the Sacramento area.

“We have seen a big increase in the amount of dead birds and mosquitoes that have tested positive in our area,” said Rodriquez.

Some symptoms to look out for are high fever, headache, and if it develops into meningitis, it can also lead to stiff neck.

While there is no specific antibiotic that works against West Nile, people with symptoms should immediately seek treatment, and there are things that can help.

“We can give IV fluids. We can try to treat the symptoms so it does not become deadly,” said Dr. Britt Hatfield, U.S. Healthworks.

One way to avoid the virus the best you can is to follow the four D’s:

  • Insect repellent with DEET,
  • Dress in long sleeves and pants,
  • Drain standing water around your home,
  • Avoid being outside when mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn.

“Viruses tend to be cyclical, and the last couple years we have had mild years with West Nile virus activity; but not to the level we have seen this year,” said Rodriquez.

In addition to timing, some believe Mother Nature could be responsible for the increased threat.

“We did have a very mild winter, then very hot temperatures, and that could have potentially given a head start to the virus,” said Rodriquez.

This Labor Day weekend, experts are warning everyone to be aware while outdoors.

“We know that the risk of West Nile virus is still very real and we ask that everyone stay protected,” said Rodriquez.

People who are 50 years and older are at the highest risk for getting sick, and most likely to have complications from the disease.

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